Time to take a breath.
Cherry blossoms begin shining against fresh green leaves.
By this time, other greens have also awakened and spring has matured.
In the fields, peas flower and soft pods begin hanging from the plants.
Spring is pea season.
In April and May, I can indulge in the blessings of spring.
Young beans and green peas can be found everywhere, and I stand in my kitchen every day cooking.
My family and friends who enjoy gardening sometimes give me seasonal vegetables.
Nothing can be more of a luxury.
Vegetables from the fields are powerful.
The podded peas that I usually purchase at the supermarket are delicately lined up in small package that are the size of my palm.
Podded peas sent straight from the fields come fully packed in a plastic shopping bag.
They come in a different order of magnitude.
What a gratefully happy treat.
Stringing those pea pods are a fulfilling exercise.
My favorite green peas also come taken out of their pods, packed up to the brim of a translucent plastic bag, ready to roll out.
It is far too much for me to eat by myself, even if they are my favorite.
So, I share some with by neighbors but still have a lot to freeze and keep.
Now, I can enjoy green peas for a while. How comforting.
But I cannot be relaxed for long. Broad beans arrive.
Inside these seriously big pods, are safely tucked light green beans
Wakan Sansai Zue also describes broad beans to “taste better when salt is added.”
Few things taste better than broad beans boiled in salt water.
When you take the beans out of their pods, the cushioned pods take up more space, but that is forgivable.
I will boil them with love.
Green peas and broad beans are both legumes.
Seeds and fruit contain all the essences of a plant.
Why would it not be delicious?
Green pea rice and salted broad beans bear different aromas, but share a sweet and soft fragrance, almost like that of a baby.
Oh, the joy of standing in the kitchen, filled with fragrances unique to the season.
Illustrated and written by Emiko Hirano
Illustrator and essayist. Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1961 and grew up in Yokohama. Has published many illustrations and essays on mountain hiking, travels and lifestyles.
A Casual Fragrance Calendar